Emotional intelligence is the driver of success

Since the mid-1990s numerous books and articles have been written on emotional intelligence (EQ) as a driver of individual and organizational success. Authors Daniel Goleman, Travis Bradberry, and Richard Boyatzis have all written on the key components of EQ and the positive impact it can have in our personal and professional lives. Goleman defines EQ as, “The capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.” He emphasizes that IQ and technical competencies get us into the game; however, a high level of EQ elevates our ability to lead and manage organizations.

In The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book: Everything You Need to Know to Put Your EQ to Work, Bradberry suggests that “EQ is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.” Bradberry goes on to make the case that leaders with a high EQ are 80 percent more productive than their low EQ counterparts, and this productivity translates to higher income and success in leadership roles. There is a sound business case for understanding EQ and focusing on its development. EQ can be developed and improved over time when we are willing to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone, are humble enough to ask for and receive feedback, and take the time to slow down, reflect, and think through what we say and do.

Bradberry breaks EQ down into personal and social competence – the ability to be aware of emotions and recognize certain tendencies and behaviors that help or hinder effectiveness. He also emphasizes the importance of social competence – the ability to manage relationships, understand and empathize with others, and recognize how the environment can influence both our own and others’ behaviors.Jefferson’s quote is particularly relevant to the improvement and development of EQ. Behaviors can be changed when we are willing to practice, adapt to our surroundings, and seek out trustworthy mentors willing to take the time to help move us forward.

For those who watch the detective show Foyle’s War, actor Michael Kitchen provides some wonderful examples of EQ through his ability to use the power of observation, empathy, and self-management to solve crimes. Foyle, has the ability to manage his emotions and nonverbal communication in a manner that allows him to keep criminals guessing. The power of EQ is in the ability to maintain focus and cultivate powerful habits that help leaders bring out the best in themselves and others.

Assessments, training programs, and workbooks have been created to encourage the development and use of EQ. You can develop your EQ through structured training, coaching, and a desire to improve and grow. Multirater 360 degree EQ assessments can provide us with a realistic snap shot of how others see us in a variety of settings and compare that feedback to our self-perceptions. This can be positive and validating at times, and it can also be uncomfortable. I have experienced the feedback of 360s, and regularly work with others to help them understand how the feedback can be used to drive them in a positive and beneficial manner.

Reprinted from CPA Now with permission from the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.


John Park, Ph.D., Baker Tilly

John, a firm director, maintains a targeted consulting practice where he works with his clients on issues related to strategic planning, change management, enterprise risk management and leadership development. He has multiple publications including co-authorship of the book “Creating in House Sales Development Programs “and regularly speaks at regional and national conferences.

 

The Power of Awe: Putting Its Benefits to Work

First published by University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business Aresty Institute of Executive Education. For more information, click here

Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes — with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.

The Goal: Put the benefits of awe experiences to work for yourself and your team.

Nano Tool:

What if you could encourage better decision-making, generosity, and cooperation in your organization? What if people were eager to learn more and increase their interest in improving business processes and outcomes?

According to a great deal of recent research, these are some of the benefits of experiencing awe: a strong emotional response to encounters such as viewing dramatic landscapes, witnessing storms, observing inspiring architecture, listening to music, or having a religious experience. A new Berkeley study reveals that awe can even improve physical and mental health, possibly even lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, clinical depression, heart disease, and arthritis — benefits similar to those enjoyed by eating right and exercising. As Berkeley psychology professor Dacher Keltner puts it, “Don’t underestimate the power of goosebumps.”

While awe is most commonly thought of in terms of a response to natural wonders (think mountains, waterfalls, and canyons), you don’t have to travel far to experience it. In fact, you can induce feelings of awe quickly and easily in the workplace — and reap its benefits — without putting on hiking shoes or purchasing plane tickets (although those are worthwhile options). Consider the following four action steps and begin incorporating “awe interventions” in your workplace.

Action Steps:

These steps provide ideas both large and small for inspiring awe in yourself and your team. Keltner says building in “mini awe interventions” during the day is key.

  • Make your workspace more aesthetically pleasing. Simple changes such as replacing your computer’s desktop image with a photo of a beautiful place you’ve visited, your child or partner, or an inspiring leader can work. Integrating nature can be done on a large scale (such as Silicon Valley’s vertical gardens or “living walls”) or a small one (adding potted plants). A study published in the journal HortScience reveals a number of psychosocial benefits afforded by plants in the workplace.

  • Take “awe walks” whether your work setting is urban or rural; indoor spaces can work too (think museums, cathedrals, or aquariums). Directions for 15-minute walks in natural, indoor, and urban settings are found here.

  • Write and read about awe. Research published in the journal Psychological Sciencefound that some of the benefits of awe, including reduced impatience and increased prosocial behaviors, could be elicited by asking experiment subjects to write about a personal experience that caused them to feel awe and by reading about the awe-inspiring experiences of others. In your workplace, incorporate testimonial stories of inspirational leaders, share your own experiences of awe, and encourage team members to do the same. Bookmark online stories of awe and set reminders to read them at least once a day. Sidetracked Magazine is a good place to start. 

  • University of Pennsylvania psychologists David B. Yaden, Jonathan Iwry, and Johannes C. Eichstaedt and co-authors say that astronauts interviewed after space flights reported self-transcendent experiences after viewing Earth from space, returning with an expanded sense of perspective on their lives, an increased sense of connection to others, and a renewed sense of purpose. For the Earth-bound, research suggests that viewing awe-inspiring videos may have a similar effect. Check the University of California Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center videos here.

How Leaders Use It:
  • Facebook has constructed a nine-acre green roof at its new Menlo Park facility, complete with a winding half-mile walking path. Lori Goler, head of HR and recruiting at Facebook, says the green space gives us “space to think.” To underscore the value of these experiences, researchers have documented the pro-social effects of even just one minute of looking up into tall trees.

  • Business titans like Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon and Blue Origin) know the importance of awe in inspiring others and garnering attention through space flight. SpaceX ventures, with future plans to colonize Mars, are frequently described as “breathtaking” and “awe-inspiring.” Bezos, who displays Apollo flight suits and other memorabilia inside the Blue Origin facility, says, “I want millions of people living and working in space.”

  • Arousing a sense of awe is important if you want your message to reach as many people as possible. Wharton professors Jonah Berger and Katherine Milkman examined the content on the New York Times’ homepage that is most widely shared. Their findings: content that makes viewers or readers feel awe or wonder is more likely to be shared than content that makes people feel sad or angry.

  • Google’s Tel Aviv office has an indoor (faux) orange grove in a collaborative workspace that also includes picnic tables and a cobblestone-like floor. HubSpot used wallpaper mimicking the outdoors, including forests and clouds, in its Cambridge, Massachusetts offices. San Francisco software company Zendesk has a two-story moss-covered wall, and Goodyear’s global headquarters in East Akron, Ohio boasts two vertical gardens.

  • IDEO design director Ingrid Fetell Lee says that cultivating more awe at work involves creating a shift in perspective, using light, colors, and textures. She suggests that awe-inspiring spaces, often relegated to the front lobby, need to be brought into the workspace. Lee says, “Having a space for awe to break you out of your execution-oriented mindset could be an asset.”


Chris Maxwell is a Senior Fellow, Center for Leadership and Change Management, at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Chris previously taught “Leadership and Communication in Groups” at the Wharton School and directed a wide variety of domestic and international leadership development programs in remote areas of North America, Mexico, Patagonia, Peru, Quebec, and Iceland.

He is the author of Lead Like a Guide:  How World-Class Mountain Guides Inspire Us to Be Better Leaders. To purchase a copy, click here.

Trust your team: four tips to stepping aside

When you maintain a leadership role, it’s tempting to take charge all the time. But you have to know when to hand off responsibility to members of your team. Leaders know when to make decisions, but they also know when to trust others to make those decisions for them.

Being a leader is an important role, and we often feel tempted to fulfill and build up those expectations. But an often unrecognized quality of leadership is knowing when to shut up and step aside. Not everything needs your stamp of approval or your opinion, so here are four tips to help you identify that moment when you’re not needed.

Your skill set isn’t involved

Good leaders realize that their knowledge and experiences are limited in few different aspects. That’s okay. You might know your organization better than anyone in the world, but some components will still require a specialized skill set that you don’t have. Trust the experts or your employees who carry the strengths that you lack. Make sure your talents are being used where they’re most needed, while you let others take care of those issues that function as roadblocks to your skill sets.

You have a full plate — delegate

Time is a luxury, so treat it like one. You don’t have to be at the forefront of every decision because there are other people in your organization who can do that for you. Recognize that and take advantage of that fact. Know what situations and components of your organization actually require your attention and know when you can afford to pass it on to a capable member of your team. They’re your team, so use them.

A new perspective doesn’t hurt

A great leader is always striving to learn new things and create new opportunities. There’s only one way to do that, and that’s by allowing yourself to take a minute to sit and listen to a few fresh voices. You won’t get the best work out of your team members if they’re waiting for you to tell them to jump, so let them know that their opinions and ideas matter. Let them work out problems on their own, and it’s likely they’ll do it better than you could have imagined.

Ego can make a team fragile

While you might be the most talented person in the world, you don’t and shouldn’t do everything. You won’t always know better, and thinking you do all the time could injure your team. Try to be humble, know your flaws and allow others to fill the gaps. Don’t let your self-importance get in the way and trust your team to do the job they were hired to do.

Encourage your employees to become leaders: How to teach initiative

Teaching your employees initiative is essentially teaching them to take risk. When you take a step forward on a creaky bridge, there’s a chance your foot might fall through — but there’s a reason the adage “no risk, no reward” caught on. Things don’t always go according to plan, but if you want your organization to grow or succeed through hardship, you don’t always have a choice but to take a chance.

If you’re the leader, you don’t want your organization filled with action averse employees who only move when you do. Empower them and ask them to bear responsibility with these four tips that doesn’t pass the torch but lights theirs.

Set Goals

Make known what you want your business or organization to achieve. Your employees won’t know how to get you there if you haven’t set clear plans and communicated that to the group. If people know where you want to go, they can help chart the course or even suggest alternatives.

Pass the Mantle

For the love of all that is good, don’t micromanage the troops. Once you’ve set goals, provide duties and allow people to take ownership of their role. Give them some space to figure out and overcome potential problems and conflicts themselves. You don’t want to hold their hand constantly or else no one is going to want to try or experiment without your permission.

Don’t Wait for Perfection

Your employees aren’t always going to take the perfect path. They might hit some with bumps in the road. That’s okay. If you set the expectation that nothing less than perfection is acceptable, you’re going to paralyze your workforce. People need to know that failure or opposition is acceptable — it should even be expected. “My way or the highway” isn’t going to work if you’re hoping for employees who can fulfill tasks themselves.

Keep Your Door Open

While you don’t need to be looking over everyone’s shoulder as they make calls or write emails, you should always keep your door open and make yourself available. Your employees are going to have questions or want your opinion. Encourage that kind of collaboration. Sometimes they won’t really need your help, but they just need affirmation. That’s okay. Sometimes you just give someone a nod of approval.

What new leaders need to do right away

It is inevitable that any organization will have a new leader, and it’s
always an adjustment. While it can be an exciting and hopeful time filled with the possibilities of a new direction, it still takes time to earn trust and loyalty from those who have been there for a long period of time.

Nevertheless, a new leader should see this as an opportunity to learn and engage their team. Below are five tips to incorporate in your leadership style to find immediate success.

Speak to everyone

While your initial instinct will be to speak to the people who hired you and your immediate subordinates, you need to expand your pool. In order for people to support your leadership, you need to show your face and prove that you care about people at all levels. When new leaders come in, some people might be skeptical. Address that skepticism head on and find its foundation. Getting to the root of these issues can immediately help you to succeed as you build your strategic vision for the organization. And who knows what you might learn at the same time. 

Identify influencers

Once you’ve spoken to everyone, find the natural leaders amongst them. This is some of your top talent, and you’ll want to bolster their success. It may take some time to identify who produces the best quality work, but once you do you’ve found the foundation of your company. Be sure to invest in these people and expand based upon their talents.

Showcase success

In that vein, it is important to also point out the people who are succeeding. This redoubles their efforts, shows that you acknowledge success, and stimulates a culture of hard work. This will also inspire camaraderie and pushes employees to collaborate and address the agenda that you’ve set for the organization in a productive way.

Be an open book

Don’t hide the challenges the company faces. If people feel closed out, they don’t feel readily engaged. While you may not be able to share everything, there are certainly important ideas and issues that you want your employees to consider. And by sharing, you’ve inspired your team because they feel like valued members of the organization.

Value accountability

If you take people’s ideas seriously, then more ideas will flourish. But make sure you take them seriously in a way that you expect results. While it’s great to have someone who can come up with a million ideas off the top of their head, telling your team that execution is key makes them feel inclined to prove their validity. It’s about finding a solution, not only identifying problems.

How to achieve buy-in? Six tips on how to become a great communicator

It’s easy to identify communication as a key component of leadership success, but many struggle to relay an idea or get their bosses, colleagues and subordinates to “buy-in” to their ideas. If you have a strategic vision for your company and your role within it, it is essential to impart that upon others and gain their endorsement.

Below are six tips that you can immediately incorporate to get to that next level of communication success and earn the essential “buy-in” of your peers.

Show it. Sometimes it’s just about looking the part. Communication can be about your outward appearance, often the foundation of your first impression. This doesn’t mean how you are dressed necessarily, but instead how you hold yourself. Prove your confidence by showing it. This can influences how you express an idea: an energetic tone, smiling, nodding, strong eye contact, firm handshake, and an easy and relaxed posture. All these display, engage and bolster “buy-in.”

Keep it simple. Over-explanation will be the first nail in your coffin. If no one knows what you are talking about, then it will be nearly impossible to fulfill your strategic vision. Complexity is valued by the lonely, and triumph is never attained alone. Confident leaders will make it simple for those around them, allowing those people to “buy-in” to the idea. Yes, you might sound smart using industry jargon and flourishes, but there’s no quicker way to lose a room and tamp down excitement.

Share. We have a tendency to want to keep everything close to the chest, but sometimes it’s overkill. If you’re seeking investment from people in your company, they need to know what the hell is going on. Tell them. Sharing information strategically will make you more valuable to your organization and potentially raise your profile as an expert. This is how trust is built, and it will develop that “buy-in” you want from bosses, colleagues, and subordinates.

Improvise. Any great leader can identify a communication formula that works, and it’s needed because the modern work environment forces people to think on their feet. Brevity is the soul of wit and the avenue to the desired “buy-in.” Learn to give off-the-cuff statements that concisely summarize your point in a few sentences or less. Someone who can deliver on his/her feet impresses everyone, and that improvisation is a craft that can be mastered.

Spin a yarn. Humans naturally communicate by telling stories, so use that to your advantage. Add anecdotes to meetings and presentations as well as casual conversations to drive home the points and ideas that you want to impact onto others. Some may find it difficult to remember only the essential point. But once it is illustrated in a story, people can use it as a guiding light to remember and more easily “buy in” to the concept.

Ask questions. Any great leader knows that their education is never complete. If you don’t take the time to hear what’s happening from the basement to the penthouse of your company, then you’re not going to address problems that could blow up later and maybe even miss some opportunities. It’s important to make yourself available and hear from others. Because no mater how smart you are, you don’t have all the answers.

Yes, sometimes the answers won’t matter, but colleagues and subordinates will always appreciate you taking a moment to step back and listen.

Learn “The Cubs Way” and Share the Win

Diamond6 Leadership & Strategy has a soft spot for the Chicago Cubs, as D6 CEO Jeff McCausland is a lifelong fan. But the Cubs are also a masterclass in leadership, especially when we consider General Manager Theo Epstein.

Epstein has broken two baseball “curses” during his 15 years as a Major League Baseball general manager. He first took on the helm of his hometown team — the Boston Red Sox  — where he brought the Curse of the Bambino to an end in 2004. In 2012, he came to the Cubs, completely rebuilt the team and won a World Series within five years.

He is a managerial legend now, but it still came as a surprise when he was named Fortune Magazine’s best leader in the world — even beating out the pope. Yet his reaction to the magazine’s honor also proves his qualities as a great leader.

The baby-faced manager, only 43, said he was taken aback by the top spot.

“Um, I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in my house,” Epstein texted ESPN writer Buster Olney. “This is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous.”

But it’s that exact dismissal that is evidence he is such a great leader. It is that rejection that proves his sense of modesty and humility — an integral characteristic of leadership. Epstein would be the first to say that he is not singularly responsible for changing the culture of an entire franchise and bringing the first baseball championship to the city of Chicago in 108 years. But it must be noted that his organizational changes brought the Cubs a victory.

“It’s baseball — a pastime involving a lot of chance,” Epstein told Olney, before bringing up a player he signed as an example. “If [utility player Ben] Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I’m on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I’m not the best leader in our organization; our players are.”

A weaker person would have immediately taken credit for others’ wins, but Epstein is unwilling to bask in that glory. Instead he readjusts it and places the honor at the feet of the members of his organization, such as the players.

A good leader knows that the successes of a “team” isn’t the result of any one person. We must recognize and acknowledge every individual’s contributions or else we create an environment that doesn’t encourage success. No organization wants to stifle good work, so understand the new “Cubs Way” and share the achievement in order to inspire accomplishment.

Should you have a mentor? Probably.

When considering a mentor, it is first important to get to the foundation of what exactly we mean by “mentoring.” Mentoring is a personal relationship in which a more experienced (usually older) mentor acts as a guide, role-model, and sponsor of a less experienced (usually younger) protégé.

Mentors provide protégés with knowledge, advice, challenge, counsel, and support in their pursuit of becoming full members of a profession as well as becoming effective leaders. This is different from “coaching” which normally refers to shorter term relationships to seek and acquire often technical skills though at times coach can well become a mentor.

I firmly believe most people particularly when embarking on a new career path can benefit markedly from having a mentor. This is particularly true from young people who (as you can see from the definition provided) are embarking on a career in a “profession.” According to sociologists the “professions” include the military, law (to include lawyers as well as law enforcement), medicine, theologians, and educators. These career paths are different from other positions in society.

First, the members of a “profession” have control over an abstract body of knowledge. They are entrusted by society to develop this body of knowledge throughout their careers when they as the professions custodians. Doctors and medical researchers are expected to continue their development as medical professionals during their career while seeking better methods to treat injury and disease.

Second, members of a profession are entrusted by society with a certain degree of autonomy over who may enter the profession as well as determining who has violated the norms of the profession and must lose their “license to practice.” Doctors, military officers, and theologians swear oaths. If they are determined to be operating outside what is acceptable they lose their license, are court-martialed, or are defrocked.

Finally, those who enter a profession are motivated to provide an essential service to society that is critical for society to operate, develop, and survive. Obviously, we all believe that the external security provided by the military is critical, medical personnel treat our ailments, theologians comfort us in our moments of need, and we need a legal system that includes law enforcement if society is to function.

Consequently, I believe that those entering a profession have a heightened need for mentors to insure they fully understand its norms, standards of practice, and are encouraged to continue their professional development.


Dr. Jeff McCausland is Founder and CEO of Diamond6 Leadership and Strategy, LLC. His most challenging and unique leadership experience was leading and commanding 750 troops into the first Gulf War. He is proud to say that everyone came home healthy and safe.

Leadership Found and Fought at the Alamo

Some historians regard the Mexican defeat in the Texas Revolution as among the most influential developments in the emergence of the United States as a hemispheric and, eventually, a world power.

The Diamond6 Alamo Leadership Study offers thought-provoking insights from a battle and campaign that seem familiar—but are not generally well understood. On-the-ground study of this Revolution opens up discoveries that can benefit today’s leaders as they grapple with unpredictable change, inter-cultural influences, powerful personalities, a highly volatile environment, and competing stakeholder aims.

The chaotic conditions in Texas and Mexico in 1836 presented leaders on both sides with wickedly complex challenges. In San Antonio both groups operated at the far end of their range of influence. Misunderstandings of the situation and of the opposition’s aims and qualities forced Samuel Houston, Travis, and David Bowie on the Texian side and Santa Anna and his political and military aides on the other to guess and improvise almost every day.

For the Anglo-Tejano rebels, unexpected attacks on their legal rights, uncontrolled influx of American adventurers, and economic penalties imposed by Santa Anna’s government provoked an ill-organized, mutually suspicious resistance. Disagreements over the question of independence or reform and disputed leadership at state level put Travis and Bowie in a tough, risky position in San Antonio early in the year. Their Tejano partners, led by Navarro and Seguin, faced choices that were doubly hard. In both groups a mistaken conception of Santa Anna’s intention and abilities led them to dangerously false assumptions and compelled rebel leaders to make snap decisions that had decisive effects.

On the other side, Santa Anna saw the resistance in Texas as yet another instance in a long line of Yankee incursions into Mexico. Insecure in power and dealing with opposition in Mexico City and in other states, he had to force a quick decision. His response was ingenious in some respects but deeply flawed in others. The leadership environment he imposed on his army and government played a central part in the contest’s outcome and is notably useful for study today.

The perceptions of observers on all sides constrained their choices and created problems analogous to those that leaders face today. The neutral citizens of Mexico, the population and government of the United States, several European powers, and the Native American tribes of the region all figured in the choices that the opposing leaders had to make.

San Antonio became a decisive point for both sides, unwittingly for the rebels and deliberately for Santa Anna. In the Alamo Leadership Study, participants examine how the actions of Travis and Santa Anna brought on a crisis for both sides. Diamond 6’s expert historians and authorities on leadership theory assist them in developing new ideas about the case itself and about the application of leadership principles to current problems. Past participants from both the private and public sectors have enhanced their leader skills individually and as teams through this event.


Don Holder is an independent consultant on leadership, Joint Force and Army doctrine, and training.  As one of six Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) Senior Mentors, he coached commanders of Army corps, divisions and brigades in advanced training exercises.  He advises doctrine writers and force designers on future operations and lectures on theater operations at foreign and US service schools.

Interview with Jeff McCausland at a D6 Pearl Harbor Workshop

In January, Diamond6 Leadership and Strategy CEO Jeff McCausland traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii, with a group of college students. Their trip came only a month after the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and they planned to use the attack as a case study from which they could draw important leadership lessons. 

Below is a brief interview that was conducted with Jeff during the workshop that gives an overview of how he conducted this seminar, which gives some insight to the many other workshops D6 teaches as well.

Tell us about your approach.

Jeff: Over my time teaching, I’ve used historical case studies to examine enduring concepts of leadership and organizational theory, whether that’s thinking about strategy or emotional intelligence. I firmly believe these are very effective case studies because people find them interesting and you can use the history then to see where those particular principals and concepts are illustrated positively and negatively.

Many I’ve used have a military context because I’m retired military. I’ve used the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania, Yorktown in Virginia, the Nixon Library in Los Angeles, the Alamo in San Antonio and over the past few years I’ve used Pearl Harbor.

Are there specific leadership ideas that you’re teaching here at Pearl Harbor?

We’ll talk about organizational culture, organizational change, innovation, strategic vision, team building, effective communications, and those are just the emotional intelligence portion. We’ll talk about all of those concepts and use events and anecdotes from the actual attack on Dec. 7, 1941 on Pearl Harbor to illustrate that within a historical case study. And we’ll look at the good and the bad.

I like to emphasize that this is an iconic moment to come here because we just passed the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

What’s an important lesson learned at Pearl Harbor?

When you see the world changing, good leaders have to examine, as part of an organization – whether it’s the United States military at Pearl Harbor or Microsoft or AT&T – the following question: what are the implicit and explicit assumptions that are guiding our investments and our strategy for the future? Where do we want to go? Where is the world going? Where should we be investing people, money and time? In the 1930s people said we’re going to invest in building big coastal artillery defenses and put lots of guns out there. In 1941, that became pretty irrelevant.

This interview was conducted by Chaminade University of Honolulu Senior Communications Writer Kapono Ryan in Honolulu, Hawaii. It has been condensed and edited by Diamond6.